On Jan. 22, the I-9 form marked 03/08/13 became obsolete and was replaced by a new form marked 11/14/2016. Maryland employers that fail to use the new forms could be subject to increased penalties, and it is expected that ICE audits will increase as a result of the Trump administration. For the most part, the new I-9 is similar to the previous version of the I-9, and the new forms do not have to be used for current employees.
A Maryland county is considering a sanctuary bill that will protect undocumented immigrants. If Howard County passes the bill, only immigrants who have committed a crime can be asked for documentation paperwork by law enforcement. A council member who co-sponsored the bill said that he hopes that it will result in more undocumented immigrants reporting crimes since they would not need to fear deportation.
A mandatory registry that was put into place following the terrorist events of 9/11 has now been formally scrapped by the Obama administration. Some Maryland residents may be aware that the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System program has not been in use in this country since April 2011, but a notice posted by the Department of Homeland Security on Dec. 22, 2016, has finally made it official. The NSEERS program, according to the DHS notice, has become obsolete.
Employment-based visas allow companies in Maryland and around the country to fill high-skill positions with foreign nationals when qualified American workers cannot be found, but the challenges facing immigrants who wish to secure permanent residence in the United States based on their qualifications or skills are often extremely difficult to overcome. Rules dating back to 1998 require EB-2 visa applicants who have not been offered a specific job to meet strict national interest criteria, but a Dec. 27 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decision has established new and more flexible guidelines.
Many employers in Maryland rely on qualified foreign workers to fill specialty occupations. To retain these workers, employers must apply for H-1B visas. Because demand for H-1B visas has been steadily increasing each year, employers must file their visa applications early if they want to retain their foreign employees.